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Monday, 18 April 2011

Pharma, Pharma, Pharma chameleon

Money, money, money.

For some time now I’ve had my suspicions about the Pharmaceutical industry, even though I am a beneficiary of their products, and they are products, products to sell on the ‘open’ market.

I am an ardent smoker who likes a beer or two and have enjoyed rude health most of my life until I fell foul of a skin complaint called Psoriasis. I was first diagnosed as having Eczema some twenty odd years ago but it was only in early 2007 that they, (the ‘health professionals’, after I was hospitalised for a whole damn week,) prodded and poked me to then come down on the side of Psoriasis, (this took over two decades for them to discover.)

The upshot is that I am now on a drug called Azathioprine, a powerful drug used to prevent the rejection of ‘new’ hearts in transplant patients. Is my treatment a bit of overkill? Needless to say I pay nothing for my Azathioprine and am sent to the Glaxo Smith Cline unit every three months for bloods and a talk to my overworked skin specialist, who does a fine job by the way.

As an asides my younger brother has a myriad of  health problems due to an accident at work and has been compensated to the tune of near on 300k (well he does live down 'sarf' and they fling money at any problem they come across) and for that blood money he has to take a basket full of drugs away from his local chemist. He cannot smoke or touch alcohol, or so he is told, and berates me sometimes for being able to do both, but he aint heavy, he’s my brother!

My bro sticks up for big pharma and quotes all the good that they have done with giving the public life saving drugs so is the pharmaceutical industry the benevolent, altruistic body that it appears? A few of my fellow bloggers have something to say on the matter.

Belinda writes:
A startling cautionary note has come from the World Health Organisation, urging smoking prevention activists to bite off the hand that feeds their activities. If not that, to get a respectable distance from other relevant commercial interests in the field. Delivered at a pharmaceutical-industry sponsored conference, it remains to be seen how much difference the acknowledgement of a competing interest in the field will make.
Another blogger of note, Christopher Snowdon, (no relation to the  royal snapper, so I believe,) came across the WHO trying to distance themselves from Big Pharma who’s ever reaching tentacles are…em…ever reaching:
The World Health Organization has warned health professionals working in tobacco control not to become too closely involved with drug companies that produce smoking cessation products.
And Big Pharma’s influence on peoples freedom2choose is not restricted to the UK:
Dr. Fernand Turcotte, a prominent Quebec Public Health Professor who not long ago retired from the Laval University, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, publicly expressed regrets shortly after retiring, about what he taught his students…
He went on to say:
"I realized that the things I had been teaching my students for 35 years were not true. What I thought were the contributions of my specialty to the health and well-being of humanity in fact served to further poison people's lives."
Pretty damning stuff, don’t you agree? But CAGE Canada does not let the good professor of the hook for confessing his sins in an apologetic manner:
A little hard to believe that he’s only now realizing what ordinary citizens such as ourselves have known and have been attempting to bring to the attention of the public and politicians for years. Perhaps he feels that a fault confessed is half redressed? It is doubtful that people will so easily forgive the complicit silence of insiders such as himself, who witnessed the misery and wrong-doing that was and is still being instilled on so many people who are needlessly being medicated with often very dangerous drugs. How many public health practitioners that he taught in the last 35 years are now perpetuating the same pattern exactly the way he taught them and are now teaching others?

What Dr. Turcotte denounces, as you will read from the article linked below, is how the pharmaceutical industry has penetrated public health and is omnipresent in the medical profession and how doctors mostly rely on pharmaceutical representatives who work for their own pockets often peddling medication to people who don’t necessarily need it. He points out that the pharmaceutical industry manufactures ‘’me too’’ drugs that are very similar to their predecessors all in an effort to patent new profitable drugs all the while burdening the healthcare system with ever rising costs. He castigates the pharmaceutical industry that strategically manufactures new diseases to cure, when all some people are actually experiencing through their symptoms is the normal aging process.

Yet it was the same Dr. Turcotte who last year appeared on
French Quebec television to describe smokers as diseased people who ‘’caught’’ a pediatric illness in their early teens and who needed help to overcome it, yet the only type of help he had to offer was ineffective nicotine replacement therapy which has been shown to have a dismal 98,4% long term failure rate! How many other drugs would still be on the market if they showed such a poor performance? And yet he feigned concern for the high cost of such nicotine replacement therapy when bought over the counter and enthusiastically suggested that smokers should get their doctors to prescribe it to them since it would then be covered by the Quebec public healthcare. He right there and then participated actively in motivating people to further burden the healthcare system with the costs of medication he should know is almost totally ineffective. It is also the same Dr. Turcotte who lied to countless Quebec viewers of a popular talk show when he emphatically warned that second hand smoke is more hazardous than mainstream smoke. Obviously the host of the show must had been put to sleep by Dr. Turcotte’s mystical discourse because he never questioned why then aren’t there more passive smokers dying from tobacco induced diseases than smokers themselves.

Now that he’s retired Dr. Fernand Turcotte is putting his ‘’ethicoscope’’ on to show concern over how the public healthcare system has been rendered ethically bankrupt? How much concern was he showing through his deafening silence while he was still enjoying a lucrative career and fringe benefits from the medico/pharmaceutical partnership? What did he do or say in 2003 when as he himself points out the blood-pressure norms were lowered by the U.S. National Institutes of Health instantly creating 45 million new patients deemed to have hypertension?
Let’s see if we can have a demonstration of a little more courage from the younger doctors and scientists still at the service of such a corrupted system. Whistle blowing can take epidemic proportions - the type of epidemic that everyone but the greedy pharmaceutical industry can be thankful for!
The pharmaceutical industry takes a sizable chunk out of your pay-packet/salary and you have a right to ask where that tax money goes, and why! It is your right, before it is taken away, ask this question to your MP/Senator: Who pays the bills around here?


Bucko said...

Psoriasis? I feel for you.
Get down the local tanning salon and have a couple of minutes on a strong sunbed, every other day for two weeks.

After years of creams, pills and potions, that's how I cleared mine.

(Dont bother with NHS sunbeds, make sure its a proper tanning one)

TheBigYin said...

The anti smoking brigade and big pharma will tan your arse for nothing Bucko. Who needs sunbeds?

botiquin de armario said...

Thanks for these nice and healthy advices; I am going to tell all these tips to my grandfather and my whole family also. Everyone should take good care about their health. Health is everything to human's life. :)

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